2023 SCCA Race 1 - Not as terrible as I thought!


Results: 10th in Rookies

Rank 10 {: width=”100%” } Official Times SCCA Hawaii 2023 - Race 1

I’d say pretty dang decent for a first-timer!

I actually was unofficially 11th, but I’m not sure why I’m 10th. Anyways, that’s pretty cool! Judging from those that I raced with in rookies as a first-timer, they were surprised at my times and that made me ooze pride and confidence. Good, but bad LOL. That ego will go to my head. I beat a few other guys I met with and they were supportive of the whole experience. I didn’t meet the other guys that were better than me except for the one Prius in 7th. We’ll talk about it. We can all be faster so I’m excited to put some seat time on the simulator to learn how to drive better.

Watching the seasoned guys driving in the heat before we made me realize the skill gap may not be so out of reach. I didn’t get any DNFs, hit only one cone, and recovered from my mistakes pretty well. Each lap was an improvement over my last one, whether by technical skill or time, and that was what boosted my confidence the most.

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Reflection Time; learn how to drive FWD

I could have gotten all the tips in the world (and I did) from other drivers but almost everyone else I was racing with and around during the morning sessions was in an FR, RR, or MR cars. There were a few FF cars there but I didn’t get feedback from those guys. I’ll try to talk to the two Civic Type-R drivers next time. Originally, I wrote down a 1000+ word essay on my day but I decided to summarize it to this point:

There is a lot to learn, too much in fact for my first day.

I’ll approach these SCCA races as I do with most new things, minimize the number of skills to learn but do them well. In my case, I’ll pick out walking the track, trail braking, and being a good steward outside of the car. Two skills on the track, one off the track.

Improvement 1 Walking the Track - How to prepare for the race

You have four attempts to nail the track. WALK THE TRACK LIKE YOU ARE IN THE CAR and visualize what you’re doing so much that it’ll become second-nature.

Improvement 2 Driving Confidence and Trail Braking - How to race better

There are lots of ways to improve but I wanted my biggest driving weakness seems to be braking.

I was never sure where I should brake and I kept trying to think where am I supposed brake? Throttle is easy, roll on and don’t snap off unless intentional. But braking was a different story. Until I can figure out my driving style I won’t feel confident on the road. It won’t matter what car I have, if I have a better coach, or if I do well, if I can’t feel confident driving then I’ll perform poorly. Why would I say that? My fastest lap (without hitting a cone, lol) was my most confident lap. Driving performance feels dependent on the driver confidence, and in the autocross configuration, I don’t think we will see times drop unless we were 100% confident in our skill and car.

Here are some of the links I read on improving my FWD ability, which alluded to my wanting to improve my trail braking.

  1. 4 Things You Should Never Do in a Front Wheel Drive Car
  2. Trail Braking
  3. Oversteer Overanalyzed

Improvement 3 Stewardship - Making friends and being safe

It was great to work around the track while we weren’t racing because I get to talk and meet with like-minded people. At the event, I met with Arvin, Jeremy, Andrew, David, and Aaron. We enjoy cars and obsess too much over every single detail, it’s great! There were no bad vibes out here on what people had and we all shared this obsession with tires as our first favorite mod. While I was beaten by a Prius, Jeremy, the driver was great and became a good comrade to speak with about my first experience. Other than the amount of track time we had, I couldn’t have asked for more.

SCCA Hawaii made me feel safe in how they conducted the races and with everyone being so friendly. I learned how to work on the track, recover downed cones, and how to call in car penalties or DNFs over the radio. I’ll tell you what, watching the scrutinizing videos of F1 and rally onboards have finally paid off. Watching and analyzing the guys on track is just like the critique you see on TV.

Conclusion, I’m coming after you, my Prius friend

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To my friend Jeremy who beat me in the Prius, you’re a cool dude and healthy competition. Unfortunately, I’m too competitive with my friends, and hope to see you next time around because I’m planninng to catch up next race. You have a year of experience over me but still, I’m going to do everything I can to figure out how to cut one more second off my time.